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Charles Péguy -

Charles Péguy -

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Published by Igor Merčep
Charles Péguy -
Charles Péguy -

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Published by: Igor Merčep on May 21, 2014
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Charles Péguy
Portrait of Charles Péguy, by Jean-Pierre Laurens,1908
Charles Pierre Péguy7 January 1873Orléans, France
4 September 1914 (aged 41)Villeroy, Seine-et-Marne, France
Charles Péguy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Charles Pierre Péguy
[ʃaʁl peɡi]
; January 7,1873 – September 4, 1914) was a noted French poet,essayist, and editor born in Orléans. His two main philosophies were socialism and nationalism, but by 1908at the latest, after years of uneasy agnosticism, he had become a devout but non-practicing RomanCatholic.
 From that time, Catholicism stronglyinfluenced his works.
1 Biography2 Influence3 Famous quotations4 Works4.1 Works in English translation5 Notes6 R eferences7 External links
Péguy was born to poverty.
 His mother Cécile, widowed when he was an infant, mended chairs for a living.His f ather, Désiré Péguy, was a cabinet maker, who died in 1874 as a result of combat wounds. He studied at the Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, winning a scholarship at the
, where he attendednotably the lectures of Henri Bergson and Romain Rolland, whom he befriended. He for mally left the
 École Normale
, without graduating, in 1897, even though he continued attending some lectures in 1898. Influenced by Lucien Herr (librarian of the
 École Normale
), he became an ardent Dreyfusard.In 1897, at age 24, Péguy married Charlotte-Françoise Baudoin; they had one daughter and three sons, one of whom was born after Péguy's death. Around 1910 he fell deeply in love with Blanche Raphael, a young Jewishfriend, however he was faithful to his wife.From his earliest years, he was influenced by socialism. In 1895 Péguy joined the Socialist Party. From 1900 tohis death in 1914, he was the main contributor and the editor of the literary magazine
 Les Cahiers de laQuinzaine
, which first supported the Socialist Party director Jean Jaurès. Péguy ultimately ended his supportafter he began viewing Jaurès as a traitor to the nation and to socialism. In the
, Péguy published notonly his own essays and poetry, but also works by important contemporary authors such as Romain Rolland.His free verse poem, "Portico of the Mystery of the Second Virtue", has gone through more than 60 editions inFrance. It was a favorite book of Charles de Gaulle.
Cover of
 Die Aktion
 with Péguy's portrait by Egon Schiele
He died in battle, shot in the forehead, in Villeroy, Seine-et-Marne during World War I, on the day before the beginning of the Battle of the Marne.
Benito Mussolini referred to Péguy as a "source" for Fascism. But,according to Zaretsky in
The Virginia Quarterly Review
, Péguy wouldhave likely been horrified by this appropriation.
 During World War II both supporters and opponents of Vichy France cited Péguy. EdmondMichelet was the first of many members of the French Resistance toquote Péguy; de Gaulle, familiar with Péguy's writing, quoted him a 1942speech. Those who opposed Vichy's anti-Semitism laws often cited him.By contrast, Robert Brasillach praised Péguy as a "French NationalSocialist", and his sons Pierre and Marcel wrote that their father was aninspiration for Vichy's National Revolution ideology and "above all, aracist".
At the end of Graham Greene's novel
 Brighton Rock 
 (1938), theunnamed, old French priest tells Rose about a man who never took thesacraments but who some think was a saint—an obvious reference toPéguy.In 1983, Geoffrey Hill published a poem as homage to Péguy, entitled
The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy
Famous quotations
"The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint.""It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive." (
 Notre Patrie
, 1905)."Tyranny is always better organised than freedom"."It has never been given to a man to attain at once his happiness and his salvation.""Kantianism has clean hands, but it has no hands.""Homer is new and fresh this morning, and nothing, perhaps, is so old and tired as today's newspaper."“Life holds only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint.”"Surrender is essentially an operation by means of which we set out explaining instead of acting.""He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.""A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of hisovercoat pocket.""How maddening, says God, it will be when there are no longer any Frenchmen";
"There will be things that I do that no one will be left to understand." (
 Le Mystère des saints Innocents
)"It is impossible to write ancient history because we do not have enough sources, and impossible to writemodern history because we have too many". (
, 1909)"Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics." (
 Notre Jeunesse
, 1909)
 De la Raison
 De Jean Coste
 Notre Patrie
 Notre Jeunesse
Victor-Marie, Comte Hugo
Un Nouveau Théologien
 L'Argent Suite
 Note sur M. Bergson et la Philosophie Bergsonienne
 Note Conjointe sur M. Descartes et la Philosophie Cartésienne
Clio. Dialogue de l'Histoire et de l'âme Païenne
Véronique. Dialogue de l'Histoire et de l'âme Charnelle
. Paris: Gallimard (posth.)
 Le Porche du Mystère de la Deuxième Vertu
 La Tapisserie de Sainte Geneviève et de Jeanne d'Arc
 La Tapisserie de Notre-Dame
 Jeanne d'Arc
. Paris: Librairie de la Revue Socialiste.(1910).
 Le Mystère de la Charité de Jeanne d'Arc
 Le Mystère des Saints Innocents
 Lettres et Entretiens
Correspondance, 1905-1914: Charles Péguy - Pierre Marcel 
. Paris: Minard (posth.)
Collected Works

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